Published: Tue, August 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Idlib ceasefire must be respected, Macron tells Putin

Idlib ceasefire must be respected, Macron tells Putin

Addressing Putin at a joint press conference at the Bregancon fortress on France's Mediterranean coast, Macron said it was "vital" that a ceasefire deal agreed in the Russian resort of Sochi in September a year ago be implemented.

Speaking in a joint news conference before the meeting, Macron spoke of his hope that the election of Ukraine's new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, provides opportunity to relaunch negotiations in Russia's conflict with the country.

Earlier this month, France strongly condemned Russia's crackdown on anti-government protesters in Moscow, denouncing the arrests of more than 2,000 people and the "clearly excessive use of force".

Macron and Putin said they would also discuss how to de-escalate tensions over Iran, the Syria conflict and arms control issues.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday hosts Vladimir Putin for a rare bilateral visit by the Russian strongman to a major European Union power, seeking to press the Kremlin to help end the conflict in Ukraine.

Putin told reporters that phone conversations with Zelensky, who has offered an olive branch to the Russian president, had given him cautious grounds for optimism.

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"We support the efforts of the Syrian army.to end these terrorist threats" in Idlib, Putin told Macron after his remarks on the ceasefire.

"Putin said Moscow does not want protests like the" yellow vest" ones that have taken place in France, but that peaceful demonstrations were welcome.

Russian Federation was slung out of what was the G8 in 2014 after it seized Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, an annexation unrecognised by the global community.

Al Jazeera's Natacha Butler, reporting from Paris, described the talks between the two leaders as "very significant".

"What Macron is also doing, by inviting the Russian president - even though Russia was kicked out of what was the G-8 over its annexation of Crimea - is making the point that Russia remains an influential and key player internationally, and it is important to keep a dialogue with Moscow open".

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